Missing Texas College Student Found Dead, Hunt Underway for Murder

Grayson County Sheriff's Office

A day after a 21-year-old female college student in Texas went missing, her body was found underneath the bridge, with authorities undertaking a broad search and now announcing they have a person of interest in the case. They are still offering a $5000 reward for information.

Female college student goes missing, body found

On Sunday, March 22, 2020, 21-year-old Texas college student Emilia Gunnel went missing from her home on Tee Taw Circle in Sherman, Texas.

Gunnels’ mother, Irene Gunnels, said her daughter had just turned 21 and was enrolled at Grayson College.

“She was eccentric and she didn’t really care about what people thought about her,” Irene said. “She was generous and very strong-willed and determined to do what she had her mind set to do.”

Irene Gunnels added that her daughter “loved animals, especially her guinea pigs. I have two to take care of now.”

Dead body found under a bridge

The following day, on March 23, 2020, workers called police after discovering what appeared to be a white female’s body line underneath the bridge on Blue Flame Road in Sherman.

Upon responding to the call, the Sherman Police Department was already aware that the Grayson County’s Sheriff’s office was working a missing persons case. Officers observed that the body appeared to match the statistics listed for the female individual in the missing persons case.

Authorities determined the death was a homicide but withheld any specific details about the cause of death.

The Grayson County Sheriff’s office took over the lead of the investigation and were assisted by the Texas Rangers. The two law enforcement teams immediately threw out a dragnet hoping to pick up clues.

Later in the week, deputies from the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office shut down Herman Baker Park in order to search for clues as they followed up on leads. Gunnel’s home was located roughly 5 miles from the park.

Authorities announce they have a person of interest

A little over two weeks after Emila Gunnels went missing and was found dead of an apparent homicide, officials from the Grayson County Sheriff’s office announced that they have a person of interest in her death.

One piece of new information was released by Captain Harvey Smitherman of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office.

“The River Ranch Apartments is where we found Emila Gunnels’ vehicle,” Smitherman said. “She was not abducted from the River Ranch Apartments, but her vehicle was dumped there.”

While officials revealed that they had a person of interest, they said they were not ready to name that person at this time.

$5000 reward offered for information

Authorities are seeking help from the public in the case and are offering a $5000 reward for credible information.

“We ask that anybody out there in the public that has information on this case to please contact Lt. Heath Wester at 903-813-4200, extension 2216,” Captain Smitherman said.

Tips can also be made anonymously online through The P3 website.

P3 Tips mobile stands for “public-police-private sector” working together to solve and prevent crime. It allows anyone to share information anonymously with Crime Stopper programs and law enforcement entities.